APL Colloquium

December 1, 2006

Colloquium Topic: The Next Steps in Human Space Exploration: What are the Alternatives?

In 2006, the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) initiated a so-called "Cosmic Study" that would investigate different approaches for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit leading ultimately to human missions to Mars. After consideration of a number of possibilities, the IAA study team decided to focus their efforts on two approaches. Both of these approaches employed evolutionary architectures to achieve the Mars goal. One concept, proposed by President George W. Bush in January 2004, and subsequently adopted by NASA, would use the Moon for testing operational techniques and the demonstration of technologies needed for Mars. An alternative architecture would use destinations at the Sun-Earth L2 libration point and near-Earth asteroids as stepping stones to Mars. A primary goal of the IAA study is to evaluate the two approaches based on the following: science value, affordability, mission risk, flexibility, sustainability, and extension to other exploration destinations. The presentation will include an overview of the IAA study as well as some preliminary results and conclusions.

Colloquium Speaker: Robert W. Farquhar and Joseph Veverka

Robert W. Farquhar is on the Principal Staff of APL's Space Department. Before joining APL in 1990, he worked at several NASA Centers including Goddard and NASA HQ during a 25-year tenure. Dr. Farquhar's research interests have focused on the dynamics, control, and use of libration-point satellites. He originated the "halo-orbit" concept for libration-point missions in 1966. He has served as the Flight Director for a number of deep-space missions including the first mission to a comet (ISEE-3/ICE), and the first mission to a near-Earth asteroid (NEAR). He is currently the Mission Director for the MESSENGER mission to Mercury and the New Horizons mission to Pluto/Charon.

Joseph F. Veverka is a professor of astronomy and chair of the Astronomy Department at Cornell University. He participated in the first spacecraft studies of the moons of Mars by Mariner 9 and in the first direct exploration of asteroids Gaspra and Ida by the Galileo spacecraft. Dr. Veverka was the team leader of the Imaging/Spectral Mapping investigation on NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission, which carried out orbital investigations of asteroid 433 Eros and landed on its surface in February 2001. He was a member of the Deep Impact mission to comet Tempel 1 and is currently a member of the Cassini Imaging Team. Previously, Dr. Veverka was a member of the imaging investigations on NASA's Mariner 9, Viking, Voyager, Galileo, and Mars Global Surveyor missions.